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America's Cup: First broadcast platform launched in Auckland

by Richard Gladwell Sail-World NZ 6 Jan 16:10 PST 7 January 2020
America's Cup - ETNZ Media / TV boat - January 7, 2020 © Richard Gladwell / Sail-World.com

Emirates Team New Zealand have rolled out the first "Broadcast Platform" vessel in Auckland.

The catamaran, essential to carry TV cameras and other visual broadcast equipment, appeared outside the Emirates Team New Zealand base earlier in January, and was launched on Monday.

Designed and built by Salthouse Boatbuilders in conjunction with ETNZ, the platform, consisting of crossbeams and other catamaran deck structure components, sits on top of a set of AC45 hulls from the previous America's Cup campaign. The hulls did have a chine added in the after sections to provide some additional buoyancy to accept the weight of the engines.

The design brief was to create a stable filming platform that at any speed gives almost no wake.

She was sea-trialed on Monday in 30kt gusting 40kt offshore (SW) winds and nasty sea state and is reported to have emerged with flying colours.

Finding vessels capable of maintaining race pace with the previous America's Cup classes of catamarans ranging from 45ft (ACWS) to AC72's has always been a challenge of America's Cup Regatta TV coverage. As in the 2013 and 2017 America's Cups in San Francisco and Bermuda the TV broadcast vessels must be capable of speeds up to 50kts. Auckland is expected to have a more challenging sea state than either of the previous two venues for the Cup.

Interestingly, in common with the team's first AC75, the Broadcast Platform has what appears to a centreline bustle, but it is in fact a cover cowl to enable the 45ft catamaran to be pulled apart for shipping in a container.

The vessel will be in action at the second America's Cup World Series regatta, organised by Emirates Team NZ in conjunction with naming sponsor Emirates airline, in Portsmouth, UK in early June 2020. She may also be deployed at the first America's Cup World Series in Cagliari, Sardinia at the end of April 2020, before returning to New Zealand for the third America's Cup World Series regatta in Auckland in December 2020, and will go on to be used in the Prada Cup and 2021 America's Cup.

The team is expected to resume sailing later this week, weather permitting, after a break for Christmas.

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